Grilled Green Salad with Coffee Vinaigrette

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  • Serves: 8
  • Complexity: easy

This salad is not for the timid—it's punchy and bright; an ideal match for a spicy Mexican meal. Using these exact vegetables is not the point. Just choose whatever’s in season and can stand up to being charred. In fact, don't worry too much about about perfecting any single component of this recipe (that's not what it's all about). In the end, the genius coffee dressing will bring everything together.

  • 4 spring onions or 8 scallions, white parts only, spring onions halved lengthwise, quartered if large
  • 4 tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, quartered
  • 1 large or 2 small nopales (cactus paddles), spikes removed( canned Cactus will work )
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces queso fresco
  • cup olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  •  1 tablespoon Balsamic espresso vinegar
  • Vegetable oil (for grill)
  • 3 cups torn frisée
  • 1 cup trimmed watercress
  • ½ English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro and parsley leaves with tender stems


    • Combine onions, tomatillos, nopales, garlic, cheese, and ⅓ cup olive oil in a large resealable plastic bag; season with salt and pepper. Seal bag, pressing out air, and toss to coat. Let sit at least 1 hour.
    • Whisk vinegar, honey, and espresso in a medium bowl until honey and espresso are dissolved. Gradually add remaining ⅓ cup olive oil, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
    • Prepare grill for medium-high heat; lightly oil grates. (Or, heat a grill pan over medium-high.) Remove onions, tomatillos, and nopales from marinade; grill, turning occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
    • Remove cheese from marinade and grill, turning often, until browned on all sides, 8−10 minutes; let cool.
    • Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces; coarsely chop cheese.
    • Arrange greens on a platter. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of vinaigrette. Top with cucumber, herbs, and grilled vegetables and cheese; drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
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